CineCoup is a competition that has assembled some of the most daring and most dedicated filmmakers wanting to take home the prize of a million dollars to finance their next big flick. From Montreal to Vancouver this contest has gone through over 500 pitches and short videos to reach the point where there are only two weeks left of the competition and only 15 competing teams left. We met with the team GoBros based right here in Montreal and the brains behind one of the remaining 15 competing films “‘Lude Behavior“.
Ronnie Gauthier, Mathieu Gauthier and Beth Hickey, the trio behind GoBros welcomed me into their office for a short interview to talk about ‘Lude Behavior”, “Discopath”, filmmaking and marketing!
Jeremy Xavier Lefebvre (JL): Could you tell me a little about yourselves?
Ronnie Gauthier (RG): I’ve made a horror / slasher picture called “Discopath”, now I’m working on new projects, one which I am collaborating on with my brother, a movie called “ ‘Lude Behavior”. It’s based on a true story set between Montreal and Florida. It’s a crime genre like “Goodfellas”. We’re pursuing different projects but we decided to create this company called GoBros to make pictures. I’ve been in the business for a long time as an art director, a producer, and a writer. I’ve produced many shorts. My brother was in real estate for years so it’s easy to see he will handle the finance aspect and I’ll handle the creative aspect.
JL: Mathieu, you’ve went from real estate to movie financing. How has the transition been?
Mathieu Gauthier (MG): First of all I see myself as a serial entrepreneur. I will look at anything and ask myself can I make a dollar? My brother is the artist, he can go to Cannes, he can go to L.A. He can go get the awards. I love movies but I am in this with capitalist interests. I’m not here hiding from it. I’ve been pitching real estate opportunities to a big network of people who have funds, people who sometimes show interest in rolling the dice in more risky propositions. And the reason I am here today is simple — my brother had lots of success with Discopath. I won’t tell you what I said the first time I saw his movie, but it wasn’t super nice. I loved the cinematography and the artistic approach to the film, but I believed he cut himself short with his target audience, as only a small portion of the population are interested in gory movies. I think he limited himself on the target audience.
If we remember what Mr. Guzzo said, “ Open up,” and I want my brother to open up to movies that are for Mr. and Mrs. Everyone, and that’s what I’ve done by pushing my brother’s talent towards a concept that will cater to all segments of the population. I am still pursuing real estate opportunities in Montreal, Chicago, and all sort of projects. I see this one as investment opportunity and I’m working with my brother. I’m having a blast. I’ve tried having him work with me on real estate projects in the past. He played a role in a few condo conversion we did here in Montreal, but this is the first time we work together on a day-to-day basis, which is fun. We are two types of individuals and we like to think we compliment each other very well.
JL: And Beth, a little about yourself?
Beth Hickey (BH): I’ve worked on Ronnie’s projects for the past 15 years since we moved to Montreal. He’s extremely talented and I think he is stretched thin. He has so much on the go. Where I come in is in the Marketing. I am here to give him a more disciplined approached to the marketing aspect, to get his name out there, to get his name known.
JL: A lot of people may not have heard of CineCoup and what the concept is, how has CineCoup been for you?
RG: CineCoup is, in my opinion, like a school of film. I’ve been working in this field for a long time. CineCoup is more of a guide, and it takes you through the normal steps that you need to take if you are very dedicated. You need to be. CineCoup sits you down and shows you how to do a pitch and all that. It’s cool that it doesn’t force you, but you need to be dedicated. Every week they give you something to do. We still have two more weeks. We don’t know what the challenge will be and we will try to make it as best as we can. So far they’ve liked what they’ve seen.
BH: It’s called a film accelerator; it’s film school condensed in a ten week process. We all have full-time jobs, busy lives, we even had a third child… so it’s all late evenings, writing and preparing.
MG: We originally met up with CineCoup head J. Joly, and when we had a conversation, we weren’t rookies, and we told him about the success we have had in the past with Discopath. My brother had three or four ideas and scripts, and finally we decided to go with “’Lude”. I’ve always gone by a simple school of though, which is that the people with the most talent and the best project win, and that’s a feeling I got from J. Joly. We had a similar mindset. It’s my personal rant on Quebec and the movie industry, but it seems to be that it’s always been a buddy’s buddy’s buddy that finds the financing and this is a plague in which the best people and the most talented people don’t get that money and I find that regrettable. With Cinecoup, I feel that the best project, with the hardest workers, and a well-organized team, has a chance to win.
JL: Tell me a bit more of these weekly demands from CineCoup.
MG: When we first released the trailer, we soon found out that our competition had been working on their films for over a year and had a lot of great material to present — professionally filmed stuff. We had a germ of an idea; we weren’t going to turn around and film something with $250,000 and we are all busy. So, we came up with something creative. At first the younger guys — our competition – didn’t understand it. They asked us what this powerpoint presentation was, but now look at us! It got the idea across. It was a pitch. When we met with J. Jolly, and he said after watching just a minute he knew what the movie was about. Some other trailers were well shot and beautiful, but you didn’t get the point.
BH: Week after week they ask for something new. This week was franchise.
JL: Tell me more about ‘Lude Behavior.
RG: Well, first off we’re big fans of crime books – Jacques Mesrine – all these stories, real crime, true crimes they call it, and second, I’m a big fan of Jai-Alai and have been for a long time. Jai-alai is a sport which is almost dead. It was big in Florida and you had people go down there and gamble. Third, Quaaludes were a very popular drug in the ’80s and became illegal in ’84. At that point people started making fake Quaaludes. Most pills were made here in Quebec.
The whole movie is based on that. It’s a cool – gangster – drug – movie. I think the story is interesting, fun exciting and we can always brush on subjects like snowbirds – all those people that come from Quebec and stay in Florida. There’s a whole community out there. We throw a few bad guys in the mix and we got ourselves a 3 hour picture.
MG: As you can see in the name, the apostrophe, ‘Lude meaning Quaalude, obviously. “Behavior” spelled without the u, points to the U.S. Spelling. All this behaviour happens in the U.S. You start to get a French Canadian piece connected with Florida. The lewd / lude is a play on words.
Just to compliment what he said earlier. We were looking for something cool and sexy and we came upon some real guys who actually lived this. This story really happened. From a marketing stand point, it is so much easier to sell a movie based on a real story than an actual fiction movie. If they can make a movie on George Young, Henry Hill, or Jordan Belfort, than why not the French Canadian connection. The story hasn’t been told. The Wolf of Wall Street brought back Quaaludes into the public eye, and we plan on riding this wave. The patent on ludes is dormant so we can use – we actually did some due-diligence or patent infringement due-diligences and we have people in L.A. going through the patent. We have signs, labels, everything that we can use in our marketing mix or promotion, that resembles the original packaging of the brand. We have a unique, vintage, retro look that people love. The same thing goes with the aesthetic of the sport Jai-Alai, palm trees, the sexiness. In a nutshell you take this true story, about the Canadian connection, combine that with sexiness/appeal of Jai-Alai, mix that all in my brother’s crazy head, sorry, in his universe, and you come up with a sexy picture.
BH: And it’s a sexy picture we think that will appeal to different markets. Anything from the younger audience –I remember when I was younger we grew up watching Goodfellas, and now Wolf of Wall Street just came out — and the older segment that remembers parting in the ’80s, and so many Canadians go down to Florida, so we think we’ve come up with a great concept that a lot of people can find something to connect to. We think we came up with a movie a lot of people will want to see.
JL: If we think about “Discopath,” we know that the movies goes from English to French with subtitles, any switch in language for this up coming movie?
RG: Not as much, marketing Discopath as a bilingual picture was tough. I purposely wanted a bilingual movie. In Quebec all I heard from the French is that they wished the whole movie was in French and abroad why was it not all in English. For this new one, our main character is a French Canadian, but spends most of his time in the States, speaking English with a bit of an accent, and of course we have a few colorful characters and swearing. I want to keep the appeal broad and more appealing.
BH: In our first draft we have our main character speaking in French with his girlfriend in Quebec but then again we will see where that goes. We aren’t sure.
MG: From my own perspective, I need some one from Wichita, Kansas to see this as a regular Hollywood film, and I think this has as much marketability and appeal as any blockbuster. As I mentioned before, I’m all about business and seeing this basic concept grow into what it is now, three months later, also having the CineCoup people looking over everything that we’ve done and the script, which included the man behind the trilogy of the Hangover. They sent us a contract that is 48 pages long. Things are looking great!
JL: Where is this going next?
RG: Technology has changed the way of making films. Everything is more accessible and cheaper to make and with a million, a million and a half, you can make 20 million. It’s a nice investment. If we are chosen by CineCoup, we win a million dollars. Discopath was made under $100,000. We would like to find more funding beyond CineCoup, maybe two or three million.
MG: Can we make it with one million dollars, yes. But I’d love to have agreements for more. We are planning to bring our private funding with a partnership and people we’ve connected to. People love our stuff. Everything is negotiable.
BH: CineCoup or no CineCoup this movie is going to be made and I think the difference between us and a lot of other people is that for them this is their lottery ticket.
MG: We’ve met with some CineCoup competitors through the Internet, or while networking. I wrote to the competitors that made the top 30, but who may not have made the top 15 and I told them to use this opportunity as a kick in the ass and explore all avenues. Don’t let the people at CineCoup decide when your project lives or dies, not when you’re so far into the project.
BH: You have so many tools at your disposal, the script, the pitch, that you didn’t have before and now you can bundle it together and maybe you’re not a match with CineCoup but you might be with another.
MG: It weeds out the people who are dreaming, but not doing the hard work, the concept might not be for a broad audience. You need to wear many hats and if you can’t handle that and aren’t dedicated, there’s still a lot to learn. Someone once said it was 95% hustling and 5% filmmaking.
On May 25, the final five will be announced for CineCoup HERE.